At the Canada-U.S. bilateral talks last week President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an ambitious plan to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40 to 45 per cent below 2012 levels by 2025.
The announcement came as welcome news to many environmental groups concerned about the high global warming potential of methane. The gas is 25 to 34 times as potent as carbon dioxide over a century.
Methane is a component of natural gas and the recent fracking boom in both Canada and the U.S. has dramatically increased methane emissions from gas production and transportation as well as fugitive emissions leaked from processing stations and pipelines.
Scott Vaughan, executive director of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and former Canadian environment commissioner, said the cross-border plan to limit emissions is “really impressive.”
“The announcement, if implemented, will lead to reducing [absolute] emissions from Canada’s oil and gas sector by about 20 per cent,” Vaughan told DeSmog Canada.